BallBuster Exclusive!

July 18, 2016

Interview with Chris Bennett (Widow guitarist)

by    Jym Harris

Widow has been a staple of underground metal scene since 2000 and have 4 albums under their belts, including countless shows, festivals in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Metal Hammer magazine has named WIDOW one of the leaders of the "New Wave of Traditional Metal" and is recognized as a band at the front of the melodic metal uprising.

Jym: Hey guys, thanks for talking with us here at BallBuster Music! Let's start by asking who is in the band Widow...

Chris: We are a traditional heavy metal band from Raleigh, NC. The band is me, Chris Bennett, on lead guitar and backing vocals, John E. Wooten on bass and lead vocals, and Robbie Mercer on drums. We love doing what we do for sure, or else we would have certainly given up by now!

We know you are the 'American' Widow but when and where was the band formed?

We actually formed in New Bern, NC at the coast where I live. We formed in 2000, really just wanting to play the music we grew up on, that got us into heavy metal in the first place. We had played in death metal bands, etc. and wanted to do what got us going when we were teenagers.

I noticed there have been a few different line-ups... how did everyone meet? Didn't you play in other bands with each other?

Johnny and I used to have a melodic death metal band called Sorrow Bequest. We met in 1997 and have played together this whole time. We decided to form Widow in early 2000 and break off from that band. We all met in the Raleigh area, and have always been great friends. We have had a lot of different members, and we still remain close to them. We met Robbie in the mid 90’s, and when we needed a drummer we knew he would be a good fit with the band.

Tell us all about your musical influences and especially your Metal influences growing up. Have you been listening to the same stuff forever or does it change?

I love a lot of different stuff, like extreme death metal, thrash, grindcore. I also love bands from the 70’s like Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynrd, Rainbow. I would say our main influences are bands like King Diamond, Slayer, Maiden, Priest, Metallica, Megadeth, Ozzy, Dio, Venom, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Dokken, Crimson Glory, so much stuff really inspires us. I love listening to Voivod, Fates Warning and Queensryche, and also listen to Death, Entombed, Obituary. I also really love bands like At the Gates and Dissection and Punk stuff like the Ramones, Black Flag, Discharge and the Exploited. Man, I could go on and on, I love so much great music!

Carved In Ston Flyer

Pure Steel Records released your 4th album and then your newest one 'Carved in Stone' correct? How did you initially hook up with that label?

Yes they did. We met them when we were playing in Germany in 2010. We got along really great with the guys, and we had completed a deal with Cruz Del Sur Music. We spoke and I basically told them they should sign us haha! They thought that was a good idea, and that’s how we got together. Alcohol can make deals happen! They might have regretted it the next day!!!

Widow plays Power Metal that sounds very different from many other USPM bands, so how would you describe your style for those who haven't heard you before?

Thank you. We have a wide spectrum of influence, and I think mixing things up can really create something different. Plus, I’m not a trained musician, so I might want to make a riff that is similar to the Ramones or Skynyrd, and it ends up sounding like us somehow! I think guitar lessons and knowledge are great things, I just don’t really have them. I have always just played what came out of me, and I think it’s important to have your own identity.

Since there's such a growing worldwide scene for true Metal, I wonder if there are any current USPM or Trad Metal bands that you might be into lately?

From Widow touring and playing shows, we have made friends with some excellent bands in this style. We are brothers with bands like Skull Fist, Cauldron, Volture, Bat, Icarus Witch, White Wizzard, Night Demon, High Spirits, Visigoth and I love these bands. There are a lot of great bands that have come out in the last few years, and I am happy that people appreciate this style so much. It’s a type of music that usually creates lifelong fans, it certainly did that for me. So, I think the future is bright for heavy metal. We don’t need the mainstream to exist. Metal lives in your heart.

I saw that you made an official video 'take hold of the night' from your last record. Will there be a video from 'Carved In Stone'? If so, which song?

We are planning on it. We’re throwing around some ideas right now, so I don’t know for sure. But I would say that the song Wisdom, Carved In Stone, and Burning Star are great possibilities.

Are there any tour plans in support of the new Widow album? Where will we be seeing you live? Details!

We are performing at the Frost and Fire Festival in Ventura, California in October with Cirith Ungol, Omen, Slough Feg, White Wizzard, Night Demon, High Spirits and so many more. That show is gonna rule! We are working on touring plans right now, and I can assure you Widow will be heading out to play everywhere we can! We love this too much not to get out there and perform. I’m ready to go!

OK so where can people find your material / merch etc? Someplace online?

Yes, go to facebook.com/widowtheband or widowusa.com and you can find our merch, and links to everything we’re on, from twitter to Youtube and more. When you buy merch from us or any band you love, you really are keeping heavy metal rolling. I buy shirts and cds of the bands I love man, you gotta support the cause!

Thanks again, guys! Any last comments? Plugs?

Thank you so much, and thank you to everyone that has supported Widow around the world. I am so grateful. It means the world to me to meet and talk metal with so many people, my life is wonderful thanks to you. Check out the album Carved In Stone! See you at the bar...

 Jym Harris

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July 18, 2016 | HardTalk

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